Webs of Woven Words, Threads, Stitches and Enchantments

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice Blessings!

Artist: Joey Chou, joeyart.blogspot.com

Blessings dark and deep
on this, the longest night.
And as the light returns from sleep,
may blessings bright 
be yours to keep!
copyright 2014, E A Kaufman

Thanks so much for reading my sporadic ramblings, I greatly appreciate it. I wish you love and happiness, truly the most important things one can have, but also endless good health and abundant wealth, creative energy and the motivation to follow through with your ideas and inspiration, good friends, blessings, magick, the guidance and love of our Goddesses, and a very good life, indeed, forever and always.

Blessings nine,
The Witch of Stitches

Monday, December 8, 2014

Positive & Negative Thinking

Stay in a positive frame of mind; think only positive thoughts; don't say or think negative thoughts; if you think a negative thought, immediately restate it in the positive. Have you heard any of these? A lot of this is from the Law of Attraction mentality. There's nothing wrong with that, but... does it really serve us as much as most think? Or is it just another way of pushing down or repressing what we don't want to deal with?

In my capacity as a spiritual advisor and teacher, I advise staying positive all the time, or at least as much as one can. Yes, I am aware how hard that can be, I have my own demons to wrestle. I do feel that wallowing in the negative is unhealthy, but after reading what I am about to share, it has made me think that contemplation and acknowledgement of the negative may be more useful and healthier.

I just began reading Tarot and the Chakras, Opening New Dimensions to Healers by Miriam Jacobs, so although I can't really review the book, the following paragraph gave me much food for thought:

"The power of positive thinking has its merits, but how can thinking only be positive? It is better to realize that no situation, no matter how difficult or complicated, lasts forever. And it is very important to realize that any charged emotion associated with difficulties, past or present, can be released. Negative thoughts tend to accumulate and stagnate the flow of air. It is like a stuffy room or strong winds. They can affect our emotions, and our physical body as well. In order to change negative thoughts, it is important to be aware of what the thoughts are connected to and find a way to accept them before attempting to do anything about them.  There is great value in differentiating among your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. This is best done by simply being present, rather than by judging or over-thinking. In energetic terms, that suggests a state of stillness and peaceful acceptance. After acceptance, change can happen. The charge of counterproductive thoughts, feelings, or physical sensations can be released, transformed, and healed."

Well, that is a lot different than just restating the issue in the positive. Exploration of the why, where "it" comes from are really important for full healing. But... there are some things we may never be able to figure out the whys and wherefores of - past life issues, other issues no amount of exploration can find. That's OK, as long as we don't bury it by putting on a happy face and pretending all is well in our life when it isn't. Acknowledgement is key, I think, not just stating those affirmations.

I'm a great one for over-thinking, so maybe I'm over-thinking this issue. It sure does strike a chord for me, though. I still don't advocate wallowing in one's misery - we've already experienced whatever trauma has led to these feelings, but we're still here, we're still OK... for the most part.

Thoughts? I love to know what others feel, think about this. Not sure I clearly articulated how this made me think, but it has my brain going!

Blessings dam and deep.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Women's Rites to Honor Bona Dea

One of the feast days I very much am dedicated to celebrating in December is that which is to honor Bona Dea, the Good Goddess of Ancient Rome. She is a goddess of women, healing, fertility, and freedom. There is some debate as to the actual date, December 3rd or 4th, but side our modern calendar was not used in ancient times, most women I know, who keep this date sacred, celebrate it on December 3rd.

No men, or even depictions of them or male animals, were permitted where the rites took place. Although the Vestal Virgins assisted with these rites, they were generally conducted in the home of a Roman magistrate of high standing by his wife.

Bona Dea's temple had a garden of medicinal herbs, and She was and is invoked by those who are in need of healing. In addition, She bestows fertility, not just in regard to having children, but fertility in all things. The cornucopia is one of Her symbols, a symbol of abundance and plenty.

Take time to honor Bona Dea tomorrow or Thursday, giving thanks for all She has bestowed upon you. If you have issues that need healing, ask for Her assistance. Although wine with blood is a traditional libation, use your intuition and make an appropriate libation and offering from your heart. As very little is known of these rites, use your intuition and do not worry if you are performing your rite "correctly." Come from your heart space, with love and honor, and you cannot but honor Her.

Invocation to Bona Dea

O Bona Dea,
Good Goddess of the Earth
Whose name is mystery,
Whose name is a hundred names,
Whose spirit lives in us all
And in every goddess who touches the soil,
And in every mortal who sprang from the clay,
Be with us on this day!
You have made the Earth spring forth
With many green goods for us,
Not merely those with which we feed our bellies,
But also those which heal our bodies.
Lady who heals us, godmother of Hygeia,
Daughter of Faunus who tracks in the wild,
We find your gifts both in our gardens
And on the wild paths where you have trodden.
We see the healing herbs springing up
In each of your passing footprints,
And we are grateful for our lives.
O Bona Dea,
Good Goddess of the Earth
Whose name is mystery
But whose gifts are so concrete,
We revere you and ask that you bless this day
Your plants which you have so generously given us,
That we may always be healed
And always help to heal others.

(from The Pagan Book of Prayers, by Ceisiwr Serith 

Blessings dam and deep!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Happy Thanksgiving to all.
I am grateful for the friends I have here,
those who read my ramblings, and all the other
good things in my life.

I hope you are also having a lovely holiday
filled with as much love and goodness as mine.

And now we continue our journey into the darkness of the year,
awaiting the return of the light, and welcoming the respite that
Winter brings, as well as its blessings of thoughtful contemplation.

Blessings dark and deep!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Remembering Olivia Robertson

The Fellowship of Isis posted this today on their Facebook page. I will be joining with many others in remembering and honoring this legendary Elder of the Craft tomorrow by lighting a candle. Join us.

From the Fellowship of Isis Facebook page:

Blessings to all Aset Shemsu. Please join us in lighting a candle to remember and honor Olivia Robertson, on the first anniversary of her passing.

"My own dedication came from sudden awareness of identity with the White Light of Isis, a shining silver-white feminine figure with wide shining lightning flashes extending from either side of her head – that encompassed the stars. So I learnt that wi
thout Truth, Love becomes dissipated. I have always received inspiration from Those outside myself. I received the teaching: 'Approach Truth with courage: Love with humility.' Divine reality pervades every being. I learnt to honour the truth in all faiths and philosophies. To accept Deity in each creature and atom. I felt the love within all born of The Great Mother of All." (Olivia Robertson, "The Call of Isis")

The Life and Work of Olivia Robertson:


As priestesses and witches, this is part of what we do, remembering and honoring the Blessed Dead. Olivia can be included on my Ancestor shrine because of all she taught, worked for, and shared about the arts of Witchcraft, Wicca, magick, the priestess/priest path. Her influence was felt by many of us, whether we are part of the Fellowship of Isis or not.

Blessed be your journey, Olivia.

Blessings dark and deep!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Day to Honor the Manes (Blessed Dead), Nov. 8th

I am still honoring the season of Hallowstide and always celebrate this Roman holiday. It is the "Day to Honor the Manes" (Blessed Dead). This year it falls on Saturday, November 8th.

One of three days, August 24, October 5 and November 8, when the Mundus, an area, generally in a city, which was considered to be a portal or access point to the Otherworlds, both upper and under, was opened to make offerings of the Fruits of the Harvest to the Blessed Dead, the Manes, in Rome and a number of other Roman cities.

To participate in the traditional manner, place your offerings of seasonal fruits in a sacred place you consider to be a portal to the Otherworlds - hedge, gateway, lake, or even cemetery; then offer prayers to your dead ancestors. Light a candle for them at your altar or ancestor shrine and, again, make appropriate prayers or just speak to them.

Sound familiar? Yes, it is very like Hallows or Samhain. There are three Roman festival days which one could align to the three harvest festivals that modern Pagans and Polytheists honor - August 24th would be most closely related to Lammas, October 5th to the Autumn Equinox, and November 8th to Hallows/Samhain. Of course, our Ancestors should be remembered throughout the year, at least weekly, but these "Days to Honor the Manes" have become an important part of my Ancestor veneration practice.

In the work that I do, I encounter many people who feel they are cursed or crossed, or have, in general, very bad luck. Ninety five to ninety nine per cent feel someone is "hexing" them. While this may be true in some cases, many times that feeling of things not being right can be attributed to your lack of honoring your Ancestors. As Laura Patsouris states in her book, Weaving Memory, A Guide to Honoring the Ancestors, (click on my Amazon Affiliates widget to the right of this post),

"Many of us have noticed that the dead, in general, are becoming increasingly restless and upset about the lack of honor given to them... There is no better protection from random angry dead people than having your Ancestral house strong and in order. This is because, when your ties to your ancestors are strong and well-nourished, they will protect you from the angry dead..."

Your practice and link to your Ancestors, be they of blood, breed, or friendship, is an important spiritual practice, especially for those of us who are called to work with the dead. You do not want to begin working with the dead until, again in the words of Laura, your Ancestral house is in order.

Many people who practice Ancestor veneration find that their Ancestors are just waiting to be called, because they love you. They want to assist you, they are strong protection. Yes, there are family issues and Ancestors you will not want to include, that's fine, you choose which Ancestors to honor, it is up to you.

Blessings dark and deep!

PS: You may notice a new widget on the side of my blog for Amazon. I am now an Amazon Affiliate. Please click directly from it when buying, it assists me in keeping the blog, Facebook page, and my soon to be Etsy page running. I thank you! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Secrecy, Sacredness, and Oaths

I had an interesting experience the other day. I am a Reiki Master/Teacher of both Traditional Usui and Karuna Reiki. I began my journey with Reiki about 10 years ago; it is a daily practice and permeates every part of my life, every day. I don't know where I would be had I not discovered it.

There are a number of things about Reiki that can vary from tradition to tradition, but one of the most important is that the Reiki symbols are sacred and therefore to be kept secret. When I received the first three symbols, I understood that I took an oath to keep them secret. There is no reason to plaster the symbols everywhere, wear them on jewelry, or put them out for all to see because without the attunements, they do nothing. Now, I have been a practicing witch for over forty years,  and I take oaths very seriously, in any tradition, spiritual path, and in one's personal life, so this keeping these sacred symbols secret is a serious matter .

So, I met someone who did her Reiki training with Diane Stein. Being heavily influenced by Dianic Feminist witchcraft, Diane is considered to be one of the grandmothers of the Dianic Feminist tradition. My problem with Stein, and why I don't recommend many of her books, is because she published a book with the symbols. Her "followers" feel, as did this woman I encountered, that the symbols are sacred, but not to be kept secret, they are for everyone. This woman's attitude about Dr. Usui was rather sneering and I had to ask her how she could feel that way and practice Reiki. There were a few other things; she attunes people for free, which is certainly her choice and I have no real issue with this. I personally think that the fees many charge for Reiki training are too high. I later spoke to someone who was attuned by this woman and was told that she and her partner received no training whatsoever, they were just told to read Stein's book to page 26. They knew nothing and felt the attunements were rather worthless. They plan to study with what they refer to as a real teacher.

Now, anyone can do whatever they choose, each of us has our own path to tread. That being said, we all need to be aware that there are teachers and there are people who call themselves teachers. If you receive Reiki attunements but no instructions you loose a very important part of Reiki. If you feel that the majority of the Reiki community and the tradition is wrong when they agree that the symbols are to be kept secret, I would hesitate to teach you any form metaphysics or occult tradition. I would question your integrity and sincerity in keeping any oaths. 

I realize there are people who will disagree with this and you are certainly free to do so, but keeping oaths and secrets, in occult and metaphysical traditions is a serious matter. These mysteries are not for everyone.

Blessings dark and deep!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Everyday Hallows - 31

Skull of Light, Illumination
The Halloween Oracle, by Stacey DeMarco

Hallows Blessings to all. Thank you for joining me in this journey through the month of October and Hallowstide. May you be blessed by the Goddesses, your Ancestors, and the Guardian Spirits who assist you. May you find all that you need as you travel this path.

The Skull of Illumination brings our Hallows Everyday and the nine days of divination to a conclusion. We have arrived at a place of clarity, understanding. Walking the path in the darkness, we found and continue to find, torches to guide us along the way. The wisdom that has been given to us on the path of our exploration is the light that allows us to see. What we see is the past that has shaped us and given us the foundation that now supports us. We can see the light in the darkness shows the Unseen, and we can proceed from here secure that the way will somehow always be lit for us so we can find what we need. It is up to us whether or not we continue along a path that is not always acceptable, certainly not easy, but rewards us with magick and mystery.

Our way really is lit as we forge ahead, learning from what is shown to us. We can stop hiding in the darkness and instead see what it has to offer.

Blessings dark and deep!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hallows Everyday - 30

Well, here we are on the 30th. The month has gone by quickly, just too fast for me. Even so, I have this tremendous feeling of wonderful things to come. All this energy of releasing that has reared up throughout the month, there was a reason for that, I feel it very strongly. I am tossing off the feelings and issues that have held me back, I truly feel that I am beginning an important new cycle. And it feels very good this morning, a real shift.

Over the past few days, I have felt like I've been getting my butt kicked energetically with all the devotional practices, the divination. So much thought and contemplation this year about Hallows Everyday, it was a real spiritual work-out, so to speak. But today, I've awakened with a sense of joy, an excitement, and a very strong feeling, as mentioned, that something new and wonderful is beginning.

Now... onto the oracle for today.

Lady De Los Muertos, Acceptance and Equality
The Halloween Oracle, by Stacey DeMarco

In a way, this card was a surprise and yet not so much. This lady is known also as Santisima Muerte, (Most Holy Death), Santa Muerte (Holy Death), and the Holy Queen, among other epithets. She is a blend of Catholic and older Mexican origins, coming to be more known when she appeared in the nineteenth century to a healer in Veracruz, or so the story goes. Since then, there have been, according to those who are dedicated to Her, many miracles. Her origins date back to pre-Spanish Mexico, but some claim She comes to us through the Yoruba tradition, Voudon, Santeria, and Palo Mayombe. Whatever Her origins, Her practitioners are generally not concerned with them, but more with Santa Muerte Herself and the gifts She brings into the devotee's life. 

Late last year, Santisima Muerte began to call to me. I began some studies, and here She is again. Another call? For me? For some of you?

This card's appearance continues the theme of releasing that which doesn't serve us. It also tells us that those issues in our lives which are based in fear need to be rethought. Death is inevitable, but we don't have to dwell on it - you'll go out of your mind. Instead, take a different approach, one based in the positive, and consider that all will be well. Fluffy? OK, maybe, but a little fluff really never does hurt, although too much may choke you! ; )

Taking a more positive approach, can assist us in changing what we want changed more easily, and keeps fear in its place. Exploring Santisima Muerte and the gifts and wisdom She can bestow, while certainly not everyone's cup of tea, is one example of learning to deal with death with acceptance. Bring death into its place in life, an equal partner, inevitable, and a next step. I think of it, or try to, as the new adventure after this one.

For me, this card is a call, one I won't ignore; for others... you will choose from what I've said here and your own contemplations. That being said, the card could just be a call from the Underworld, the Ancestors, Santa Muerte, Herself. It is the time of year when that happens. Sometimes it is just a simple hello and those passed saying, "we're here on the other side, but still with you, we're watching over you, remember us."

Blessings dark and deep!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hallows Everyday - 29

Skeleton, Strength
The Halloween Oracle, by Stacey DeMarco

It is interesting that when I read about this card, it spoke about Halloween being a scary time, and also dressing up as a skeleton for Halloween - "...we even dress as skeletons who have no flesh at all and their bones are there for all to see... In short we are showing our vulnerability at Halloween and our strength in facing our fears too." When I was a little girl and we moved from the city to the country, for the first two Halloweens I dressed in a skeleton costume. I suffered from panic attacks and was a nervous child, I can remember being fearful and depressed. I hadn't really felt those feelings, despite them still being there, or thought about them in a very long time, but the memories and feelings came flooding back with those words. I looked at an old photograph on the shelf, about 50 years ago, of me in my skeleton costume. So, yes, interesting.

This card, the Skeleton, is about two ways of being; vulnerable yet strong. There is no need to be strong all the time, no need to carry all the burdens by yourself, to be alone in fear. As fearful as I was as a child, I pushed myself and kept going, struggled and managed to live, learn, and grow up to share compassion for those who suffer from anxiety and assist them in working through it. Many people helped me along the way, and others didn't. I walked away from those who couldn't or wouldn't accept both parts of me.

Now, I walk in the darkness, not completely without fear, but strong enough to go forward, explore it, and find the peace that is in that dark cave, deep within. Anyone who knows me, if they take the time to look, will see both my strength and my vulnerability - and that is just fine - it's who I really am. Those who care for me will accept both.

Everyone has vulnerabilities, there is no shame in that. They are part of being human, part of understanding that we are perfect in our so-called imperfections. How strong we really are! Despite the fear laying beneath the surface, we are in fact, strong enough to tackle whatever presents itself to us. The question is, will you show both sides of yourself? Or... do you think, as many do, that you must hide the one, never showing it? 

The message here is that you are incredibly strong and brave when you show your vulnerable side, no matter what anyone says. It is healthier to let go of the burden of carrying guilt, shame, hubris, anxiety, illness... whatever it may be, hidden so no one sees. Bare your soul a bit, but don't wallow in the vulnerability either. Let go of the need to show you are the strongest, the best, never wrong, never fearful. On the other side of the coin, don't let the vulnerable overshadow your strength; feel your strength, know it, own it. Balance is the key.  Learn to be at ease with the very human need for support. Accept that support gratefully, without resentment or embarrassment. Ask the questions you may think are stupid, but actually show how wise you are to ask. You will find that there are those who love you and have been holding out their hands waiting to help you, wanting to be there for you. Offer your hand to them.

Blessings dark and deep! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hallows Everyday - 28

Nightsong, Hidden Talents
The Halloween Oracle, by Stacey DeMarco

Hallowstide is the between time, the edge of the changing seasons, stepping from one time into another. We are moving into the winter of the year where that which is bright and living has fallen away into slumber,  contemplation, and introspection. The world turns misty and that which is more often unseen comes to be seen and inspire.

The Nightsong card brings a message from the Goddesses. That which is vital and creative is still alive deep within, waiting to be expressed. There is some seed of creative force ready to burst into being if we will birth it. It is necessary to look within ourselves, find it, and allow it to bloom. 

For many, our hidden talents are so personal and fragile we hesitate to share them. The night bird who sings in the night comes to guide us in that darkness of fear, encouraging us to unwrap the gift of our potential, claiming the possibilities open to us.

We are full of magick. As witches, priestesses, sorceresses, wise women, we are different and live differently. Everything we do and touch sparks with the inspiration of the Goddesses. We have chosen, on some level, to be this way, to be different and live in a world that is far from mundane. We are more likely to hear the night song, a song that is not often heard. That song is one that lets us know we must use the gifts given by the Goddesses, without waiting any longer and without fear of judgement. Do whatever it is your are meant to do, do what you ache to do, bring those hidden talents into the light of day. Wait no longer.

Blessings dark and deep!

 Blood in the Forest, paper weaving
copyright 2012, E A Kaufman

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hallows Everyday - 27

Vampire, Emotional Boundaries
The Halloween Oracle, by Stacey DeMarco

An interesting message for today, the Vampire card can indicate being drained and the need for stronger boundaries. Yes, that's the simple message, but there's more to it and a bit of a warning that may be needed during this season. The veil is thin and many of us are more open psychically, hoping for spiritual communion and communication.

Vampires, at one time seen as monsters, have become romantic and sensual figures. Once human, they have metamorphosed into another type of being, now feeding from the life force of the type of being they once were. That feeding has become a longed for act of seduction in literature and movies, nourishing and strengthening the vampire, but leaving the victim depleted of life force, eventually dying. Let's be frank, this isn't sexy and it certainly isn't love. If you think it is, consider this, to these types of blood sucking vampires, you are basically a cow, chicken, pig, or a head of lettuce. You are sustenance, willing or not. You are NOT the romantic heroine they have searched for over hundreds of years. Is this creature real? I never say never.

While there are people out there who play at being vampires, going so far as to actually drink others' blood (very dangerous) and people who want to be fed from, there are real types of, for lack of a better term, energetic vampires out there. These are the people who suck you dry, leaving you feeling completely drained - physically, emotionally, spiritually. They can take your motivation, using it to strengthen themselves and leaving you, for all intents and purposes, emotionally and spiritually dead. Once they get their energetic hooks into you, it becomes a real fight to get rid of them. I well know about this as I have assisted several people in breaking away; it isn't pretty, erotic, ecstatic... it's a fight for life. Many of us have experienced this to a certain degree with people who are not strong energetic vampires, our natural protective instincts take over and we remove ourselves from there influence. However, the strong ones definitely exist.

The other type of, what I would refer to as vampiric beings, are spirits who attach themselves and make life a living hell. Certainly there are guardian and guiding spirits who stay with us, but it is a healthy relationship - they don't "feed" from you. This is why when practicing divination to call the dead, we must be very careful. Shielding and protection techniques are the first tools I teach, because there are spiritual and "human" beings out there who will harm you and YOU need to protect yourself.

Some people are hysterically afraid of ouija boards, tarot cards, scrying tools, but the truth of the matter is that hundreds of thousands of these items are sold every year and demons have not taken over the world. That is not to say that once in a while some innocent doesn't get lucky, but for the most part, the tools are harmless. If you know what you are doing, which includes shielding and protection, you'll be fine. I know the hysterics will disagree, so be it. I have my experiences over many years, they have there overwrought emotions.

Today, this card is a reminder to strengthen your boundaries, your wards, and shields, at this time when spirits are coming through to connect with us. The good, the bad, and the ugly are out there, waiting for that little hole in your energetic protection. Keep up your daily practices of re-enforcing your protections, which you should be doing daily anyway, but be extra vigilant.

A couple of very good books to assist you:

White Light, The Complete Guide to Spells & Rituals For Spiritual For Psychic Protection, by Diane Ahlquist - click here.

Spiritual Protection, A Safety Manual for Energy Workers, Healers, and Psychics, by Sophie Reicher - click here.

Blessings dark and deep!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hallows Everyday - 26

Death, The eternal cycle begins here.
from The Halloween Oracle, by Stacy DeMarco

Death cards, in general, give a little chill when they show themselves in a reading. Of course, we know that in tarot decks they rarely mean physical death, instead the Death card is about, at its simplest, transformation. The Death card in this oracle deck is really no different.

This card comes to us as we are letting go and clearing away in preparation for a new cycle. That clearing process is very powerful, not always comfortable, but necessary and part of the normal cycle. Death, in its physical aspect, is a frightening thought for most people, but the truth is we will all face it, it is truly a part of life. We experience many "deaths" as we wander through our lives. If we can, we celebrate the changes and begin anew, enthusiastic to continue on to a new branch of our journey. 

This is a reminder, as well, to remember our beloved dead. They too are making a new journey, somewhere, in some way. A mystery has been revealed to them, so allow them to guide you. Tend to your Ancestor altar, make your offerings, and remember.

If you don't journal, Hallows is a good time to begin. Scribbling down your thoughts assists in release, and also holds reminders we can go back to. A new notebook, some pages at the beginning left blank to make lists, some sketches or favorite images scattered here and there to inspire and remind us of dreams, favorite quotes, poems... all of these can be added to your journal. Then, simply write, a thought for the day or pages of angst, joy, whatever. Don't overanalyze or make it harder than it needs to be. Journaling is for you, not something you need to share with anyone.  

So... we shall let go, unfold our wings, and take flight into a new journey, going deeper into the season. We will reflect and contemplate, care for ourselves and truly live.

Blessings dark and deep!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hallows Everyday - 25

Time is just rushing by and the great night is almost upon us. I will be very busy with old and new friends, and missing a particular friend who is far away. But... celebrating, honoring our beloved Ancestors, the Hidden Company, and most especially the Goddesses, will fill my spirit  to overflowing. On to our oracle card for today.

Skull of Darkness, Blind Spots
The Halloween Oracle by Stacey DeMarco

This deck of oracle cards has been an amazing tool for me since drawing the very first card; I never fail to find the answer in them. Today's card is no exception. We have delved deeply into ourselves through our devotional activities and the energy of the season, searching for what serves us and what no longer does, seeking answers and truth. The Skull of Darkness has important advice for us in that search.

The Skull of Darkness encourages us to look to the part of ourselves that remains hidden or unseen. We may not like or appreciate certain aspects of ourselves, what many may consider to be dark aspects. But our greatest treasures can be hidden in that darkness, waiting for us, unseen only because they are hidden in the blind spots we hold on to, purposely. We think this helps or "saves" us in some way, don't look at it, don't think about it, don't feel it. By keeping those aspects in the "blind spots", refusing to see or feel, we risk a great deal; repeating harmful or painful patterns and behaviors. The underlying and growing need to know, which can occur during this time, is really a knock at the door of our spirits.

The darkness is a soothing place, the womb, the cave deep within the earth. There is comfort to be found there if we will see it that way. We are better for releasing fear of the dark. We are better for releasing the fear of seeing who we truly are, for accepting ourselves, warts and all, darkness and light. There is nothing in the dark that isn't also right there when you turn on the light or turn your head and look to see what is there. 

No one is perfect, all have their secrets, their anxieties, insecurities - so what? We must love those parts too, they are just as much a part of us, perhaps more important, than those parts we see as beautiful. What is beauty for one may be something else for another. The secrets and fears mold us and strengthen us, we get through them everyday, even when we think we don't, even when it has been a horror of a day or night, even when we refuse to acknowledge them. We still wake up the next morning and, in some way, we go on, we just keep going on. Bury something and it becomes a seed, sprouting, growing, and eventually making its way to the surface, ready or not. We need to be ready. 

We need to turn our minds so we can see those blind spots, illuminate the dark places, reveal the secret and scary places that actually can no longer harm us. They are leftovers from another time, we've been there and now we are here. Adjusting our attitudes toward what was, realizing the past really is over, we will be able to focus on today, accomplish what tasks and pleasures we choose, and maintain balance. What if you aren't the most... whatever it is you think you should be, whatever it is you fear not being? You already are getting through life anyway, just as you are. What we may consider to be the negative, the darkness of our beings, is just another part of who we are. Instead of hiding them away, we can use those parts to grow, improve, achieve. We really are just perfectly ourselves.

Light the candle and turn your head. The Crone Goddesses, the Dark Goddesses, They are holding out Their hands, waiting to help. They are the ones who can help light our way.

Blessings dark and deep!

art by Katlyn Breene

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hallows Everyday -24

Apple, Risk and Reward
The Halloween Oracle, y Stacey DeMarco

The apple, symbolic in so many ways, appears today as guidance during our Hallowstide divination, and again, we are given the gift of a most appropriate message.

For me, the apple is a symbol of wisdom and knowledge, magick, the Underworld, and this season. What we have accomplished thus far has been, for some, a risk. You have begun a regular practice of devotional activities and the likelihood is that reward is the result. Of course, you need to attend to this practice regularly, don't just drop it, which would be disrespectful to the Goddesses, Ancestors, and Spirits. 

The lore of the apple tells of its health giving benefits as well as being a potent addition to love magick. Completely opposite of that lore is that the apple tree has a strong connection to the Underworld, a bridge to that realm, and a welcome offering to the dead.

This card speaks to me as a strong suggestion to make offerings of apples on Hallows, and strengthen my connection to the Underworld. Any dealings with the Underworld entail risk, but this card is about risk and reward. I understand it as an important request, perhaps a challenge, a test. I will bury them near the hedge, truly given with love. What is needed is asked for, I have no choice but to listen and heed the request.

Blessings dark and deep! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hallows Everyday - 23

Dawn, The light after the dark.
The Halloween Oracle by Stacy DeMarco

This card is so appropriate for the beginning of this divination cycle of Hallows Everyday. The intention was to receive messages related to our devotional activities and this speaks to me on a number of levels.

We took flight when we undertook these activities, even for those who only participated  in a few, it was a step into a new spiritual place of being. We are journeying into and out of the dark, the dark being most important at this time, but we are ultimately traveling toward the time of light. We also gain wisdom with each step, each one of the devotional activities lead toward a light in spirit, a deeper connection to the Goddesses, Ancestors, and other Spirits we may have encountered or connected to. Some may have made a fresh start in their spiritual practice and found how this can change so many things for us.

The main message of this card is about starting again, hope, a fresh start. Change is always with us, for good or bad, but however it comes, we have the option to make it a positive experience and use it to our advantage. We've made a new beginning at this Hallowstide, it will certainly serve us well.

A note about this oracle deck, The Halloween Oracle by Stacy DeMarco; I hesitated to purchase it initially, thinking it might be a bit silly. I was completely wrong, it is a powerfully intense deck and Stacy's interpretations of the cards are just the beginning. I have found it to be extremely inspiring, very opening to my intuition, and spiritually nourishing.

Blessings dark and deep! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hallows Everyday - 22

I have posted many devotional practices through the days of October so far, enough to give you much to contemplate and apply to your own practices. Today, one final suggestion and then tomorrow, nine days of divination from the Halloween Oracle to look at what the Lady, our Ancestors, or any other helpful spirit, may have to advise and suggest. That will be the intention, helpful advice and suggestions.

Before sunrise this morning, I went outside with a flashlight, in my white nightgown, and searched among my hedges for a stone. I thought I wanted something flat, smooth, and plain, but what I found was a rough stone, one with plenty of crevices and bumps, and green mold or something similar. I knew it was the one, so I picked it up from beneath the hedge and took it inside. I washed it, cleansed it spiritually, and then performed my morning devotions. Next I began my early morning task which shall be today's devotional practice.

My little stone which is cleansed and blessed.

Devotional activity: Go outside your home and find a small stone. Take your time, let it call to you. When you find it, say a little prayer of thanks; always be grateful for the gifts of the Earth. Wash your stone, cleansing spiritually as the waters run over it; dry and consecrate it, then let it be for a little while to make sure it is completely dry. When ready, using a Sharpie or other permanent marker, draw a black spiral, beginning in the middle, traveling out and then off to the edge. This is your releasing side.

A very bumpy path, but then releasing can be that way.

Focus on the path that leads away, taking what you do not need on a journey that lets go and travels out of your life.

When ready, turn the stone over. Using a green Sharpie, which I chose for growth, draw another spiral, beginning at the edge of your stone and traveling in to the center. Let the last line connect to the previous circle. This is the drawing in path, that which you need coming to you easily and freely, remaining with you as long as you have need.

A path traveling in, green for growth, 
once again the path a little bumpy.

Make this little blessing, or one of your choice, while holding your stone in your non-dominant hand, covering with you dominant hand:

Awaken, awaken, Old One of the Earth,
Spirit of Stone, Keeper of Strength,
Creation of the Lady,
Be now, I ask, an ally to me.
Release and let go, bring in and let grow,
Release and let go, bring in and let grow,
Release and let go, bring in and let grow!

(copyright 2014, E A Kaufman)

(Now, blow you intention into the stone with your breath.)

Carry your stone with you, keep it on your altar or shrine, or... as I plan to do, keep in on your bedside table. First thing in the morning and last at night, or whenever you have need, hold your stone and recite the blessing, allowing the stone to assist you.

Use any color pens or paint that have meaning for you and any shape or size stone.

Blessings dark and deep!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hallows Everyday - 21

An apprentice's Ancestor altar.


Re-member us,
you who are living, 
restore us, renew us.
Speak for our silence.
Continue our work.
Bless the breath of life.
Sing of the hidden patterns.
Weave the web of peace.

Judith Anderson, 1990

Another apprentice's altar

Devotional activity: In a pretty bowl, place an apple, clean and polished, sliced into three sections, three hazelnuts in their shells, and three sprigs of fresh rosemary. Pour some red wine over all. Place the bowl on the floor before your Ancestor altar and recite this prayer:

Prayer For An Offering

I make this offering to my Ancestors of Blood and Breed,
I make it to you all so you shall know you are remembered.
As I take the wisdom and assistance you offer,
So I give this offering in return.
Here and below and above,
Within and without and round about,
This offering, a gift I bring,
I give it with this prayer I sing!

(copyright 2012 E A Kaufman)

Take the offering outside to some special place, cemetery, lake, tree, hedge, and empty the offering gently onto the ground, reciting the prayer twice more. Walk away from your offering without looking back.

 One more apprentice's Ancestor altar.

Blessings dark and deep!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hallows Everyday - 20

Samhain Invocation

Forests misty, dark and deep
the door between the worlds release
loved ones, family, favored pets
to join me in this evenings fest.
The birth of new, the death of old
I will this cycle to unfold.
Each leaf that drifts upon the ground
will bury all that is unsound
and in its place will rise anew
the gift of love the whole year through.
With the harvest gold and autumn sun
I reap the best that I have done.
And as the days grow shorter still
with long nights and winters chill
I'll work to build a better place
for every soul and human race.
Wild autumns wind, and crone's dark voice
speak to me of wisdoms choice
let me hear your words of fate
so I know which path to take!
Those of you who went before
speak to me from crossroads door
whisper words of love and care
let me know that you are there.

(author unknown)

Devotional activity: Light an orange and black tea light or votive candle tonight - or any color you feel is appropriate - and give thanks for what you have achieved, let those things that were not completed go, like the leaves in the wind. Focus only on the positive, and be grateful for that. Recite the above invocation, feel connection with your Ancestors who have gone before, let them know they are not forgotten. Know that the new endeavors ahead, whatever they may be, will bring wisdom, inspiration, and achievement of what is for your highest good. Make it so!

Blessings dark and deep!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hallows Everyday - 19

The Samhain Vow

On the Wheel of the Year does the Winter begin;
the world is austere and we all turn within.
I vow there to face the shadows I find
and work to unlace their powers that bind.
I vow to invoke my Ancestors relief
and release in the smoke all my fear and my grief.
This task I do claim as I mark this Samhain,
and swear by the flame behind Jack's cheery grin.

-Ashleen O'Gaea-
Celebrations for the Seasons of Life: Samhain To Ostara

At this time of year, when death is very much a theme of the season, so to speak, it can be easy to forget the joy of this season, the fun stuff: carving pumpkins, costumes and Halloween parties, harvest feasts, and autumn foods like big pots of hot soup waiting for us at home, oh... and all the other good Halloween fun rituals. The remembrances can be sad, but we can focus on the joy in remembering, the happiness and excitement that we experience at this time. Don't forget that part of it too - the fun.

I read an article about how to keep your carved pumpkin from getting moldy so I'll share it here. Cut the the top or bottom off, which ever you do, clean out the seeds and stingy fiber, then wipe away any dirt. Soak the pumpkin in a bleach solution - a teaspoon of bleach to a gallon of water - for about 5 minutes, stirring it around and keeping it submerged. Invert on a cloth to drain, wipe dry completely and allow to air dry for an hour. When completely dry, coat the inside with a thin layer of petroleum jelly and wipe the excess. This seals the pumpkin, but I would only use a tea light in a glass container in my pumpkin if I did this, I would worry about it possibly catching fire, so WARNING!

Here is the link for instructions using a spray bottle of bleach water and the petroleum jelly.  

Click here for some instructions, a bit different, by the Clorox bleach company.   

Devotional activity: take a walk outside and pick up some fallen branches, leaves, stones, pine cones, twigs, whatever you find, and add these as decorations to your altar. Remember to leave some sunflower or pumpkins seeds, or bird seed, as an offering and a way to give thanks for the treasures you are given.

Blessings dark and deep!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hallows Everyday - 18

Song of the Samhain Goddess

Deep night in the forest,
Deep night on the hill.
The Old Wise One opens Her cloak -
Inside, bitter smoke coils like a snake.
Heaped at Her feet, orange pumpkins grin.
The bones of Her hand shine through the skin.

Breath of Mystery rides the wind:
Honor me.
Breath of death cold on the back of your neck:
Honor me.
Breath of magic whirls around you:
Honor me.
Breath of endings and beginnings, always new.
Honor me now.

~Cait Johnson~

Devotional activity: Remember the Crones, those elderly woman who have touched your life, living or past. Light a candle for them, purple for they are powerful and purple is a good, funky colors for them. Pour a libation of tea with a pinch of brandy or whiskey added. And... if you are a crone, honor yourself; laugh, dance, and know how powerful and wise you are.

Blessings dark and deep!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hallows Everyday - 17

Broom Lore

A new broom should sweep dirt out of a house only after it has swept something in.

Never sweep after sunset or you will chase away happiness.

A broom laid across a doorway will keep out ill will, bad luck, anything bad.

Never walk on a broom.

If you feel you are being haunted by an unfriendly spirit, 
step over a broomstick and the spirit will be 
unable to bother you.

If a wife sweeps a circle around her husband, he will remain true.

If you want to marry, jump over a broom nine times and
you shall be married within the year.

Every witch must have her broom and I certainly have a collection, hung all around the house. There is just something about a handmade broom with a twisty or otherwise interesting broomstick! There is a great deal of folklore about them too. I like all sorts of brooms, large and small, made of various materials, I seem to find them wherever I go.

Cinnamon brooms, not actually made of cinnamon, are found in grocery and craft stores at this time of year. They smell heavenly and are a nice to have at the door, their scent greeting guests! Each year, at this time, I purchase a new cinnamon broom. I love the fragrance, of course, but the main purpose is to make my Hallows broom to reside by my front door, bristles up. This charm protects our home, our health, and brings prosperity and blessings. The old one, from the previous year, will be burned at Hallows, in my large cauldron or in a bonfire. 

In preparation for the broom blessing, I decorate my new cinnamon broom with strands of beautiful yarns and threads, strips of lace, as well as a three cinnamon sticks, dried apple and orange slices I have studded with cloves, and a little pouch containing various items and herbs for purpose.

Devotional activity: In preparation for the broom blessing on Hallows purchase your cinnamon broom and give it a good smudging before bringing it into your home. Decorate as you like, but be sure to add a charm bag that includes items for protection, good health, happiness, and prosperity.  Set the broom, bristles up, at your altar to await the blessed night.

With the sweeping of my broom,
I sweep out sadness, sweep out gloom,
Clearing air and clearing space,
With magick's power and magick's grace.
Negativity I sweep away
Leaving good to have its sway. 
Sweeping all the bad things out,
As my broom sweeps round about!

from the book, The Witch's Broom by Deborah Blake
(click here to see the book at Amazon)

Blessings dark and deep!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hallows Everyday - 16

Well, we all know this is pumpkin time, especially since there is pumpkin everything available. I love pumpkin so I eat a good amount of it, along with a plentiful variety of squashes. I have a very basic, nothing fancy way to prepare it - spit it in half, scrape out the seeds, and bake cut side down in a little water until nice and soft. Sometimes I'll flip it over, brush with a little butter and roast until it gets a nice and browned. I then mash it up, add plenty of butter, ground cinnamon and cloves, a good splash of maple syrup or brown sugar, and maybe a splash of sherry or rum, just a little for flavor. Yum! 

I also like to add some pumpkin to my coffee or spiced tea. I take about 2 cups of good strong coffee or black tea, add about a cup of mashed pumpkin, canned is just fine; I whip the pumpkin into the coffee, and add some spices to taste. I like a teaspoon of cinnamon, a shake of ground cloves, and a good grating of nutmeg. I warm about 1 ½ cups of whole milk and half and half mixed with some heavy cream, if I have it; if not I use 1 1/2 cups of half and half blended with whole milk - about half of each. You can add a spoonful or two of maple syrup, brown sugar, or other sweetener, but I don't. Warm it until just right, then add your coffee/pumpkin/spice mix and warm a little more, but don't boil. Whip it so it blends nicely. And there you are, a lovely season beverage!

Devotional activity: Get yourself a supply of those little fresh pumpkins that are available; you can even get them by the bagful. Decorate the outside with some colored Sharpie pens or carve if you like. Make a blessing over the pumpkin and let it sit on your altar for a day or so, then take it to some special place: hedge, base of tree, lake, and leave it as an offering after saying the appropriate offering blessing. Do this every week through Hallowstide, or more if you can. Cemeteries are also a good place to leave this offering. 

Blessings dark and deep!